May urges parties to ‘come together’ during Northern Ireland visit

The British prime minister made a surprise visit to Balmoral Show on Saturday

Prime minister Theresa May poses for a selfie at the Balmoral Show near Lisburn in Northern Ireland on Saturday. Photograph:  Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Prime minister Theresa May poses for a selfie at the Balmoral Show near Lisburn in Northern Ireland on Saturday. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

 

Stormont politicians must “come together” and form a government, British prime minister Theresa May has said during a brief visit to Northern Ireland.

The Conservative Party leader made the comments after she arrived at the Balmoral Show outside Lisburn on Saturday as part of campaigning ahead of the general election on June 8th.

The brief stop at the agricultural and food show was part of her commitment to visit all four regions of the UK ahead of polling day.

She was shown around the event by secretary of state James Brokenshire.

Ms May met with farmers, food producers, representatives of the Womens’ Institute and DUP leader Arlene Foster, among others.

She told reporters it was important the parties in Northern Ireland “come together and come to an agreement that can enable that devolved administration to be re-established”.

“After the general election, there will be several weeks until the end of the June for those parties to come together and see a resolution,” she added.

“We all want to see devolved administration restored in Northern Ireland.”

Talks aimed at forming a government in the North, following the snap Assembly election on March 2nd, are on hold until after the June 8th general election as campaigning and compromising at the same time proved impossible.

The latest deadline for a deal is June 29th.

Sinn Féin Brexit spokesman John O’Dowd accused Ms May of breath-taking arrogance following her brief visit to the Balmoral Show.

John O’Dowd said: “The arrogance of Theresa May is astounding visiting the Balmoral Show, while her Tory cabinet is planning to impose Brexit on the north which will be disastrous for our farming and agri-food industries.

“Since taking office Theresa May has visited the north once, taken one media question and then departed.

“Now that Ms May has ticked a box and visited the north one more time for the election she will jet off home and continue to ignore the democratic wishes of the people here.

“This is a British prime minister whose Tory party received just 0.3 per cent of the vote in the last Assembly election in the north.

“Her politics have been rejected both at the ballot box and in a referendum where the people of the north voted to remain within the EU.

“Sinn Féin have spent four days at the Balmoral show engaging with farmers and producers who are righty very concerned with the effects of Brexit on their businesses, their employees and their ability to trade across the island of Ireland.

“Sinn Féin will continue to make the case for designated special status for the north within the EU and stand against the Tory Brexit, cuts and disregard for the people of the north.”

ENDS